Alp Arslan (Dictionary of World Biography: Middle Ages)
Article abstract: The second sultan of the Seljuk dynasty, Alp Arslan consolidated and extended the conquests of his predecessor, Toghrïl Beg; his reign, together with that of his son Malik-Shah, constituted the zenith of the empire of the Great Seljuks.
Alp Arslan, the second and most famous of the sultans of the Seljuk dynasty, was born around 1030 to Chaghrï Beg, brother of the Turkish warlord Toghrïl Beg. During the 1040’s, Toghrïl invaded Iran with his Türkmen followers, became the protector of the ʿAbbasid caliph in Baghdad and thereby the champion of Sunni (orthodox) Islam, and founded an empire which extended over much of the Middle East. Alp Arslan’s Turkish name (his Arabic names and titles were Adud al-Dawla Abu Shuja Muhammad ibn Daud Chaghrï Beg) was a combination of the words alp, meaning warrior or hero, and arslan, meaning lion, apt sobriquets for so renowned a military leader.
His great-grandfather, Seljuk, the eponymous ancestor of the Seljuk dynasty, had been a clan leader among the tribes that composed the confederacy of the Oguz Turks, who in the tenth century occupied the steppes between the Aral Sea and the Volga River. Seljuk himself had thrown off his allegiance to the yabghu, as the supreme ruler of the Oguz was known, and led his clansmen and a growing body of Türkmen followers as soldiers of fortune in the service of the rulers of...
(The entire section is 3609 words.)
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Alp Arslan (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Military significance: Arslan was the Seljuk Turk leader who defeated the Byzantine emperor Romanus IV Diogenes at Manzikert. The defeat represented the beginning of the end of Byzantium as a great power.
Alp Arslan was the son of Chagri, a chieftain of Khorāsān and the nephew of Tughrul, the sultan of the Seljuk Turks. By 1064, he had inherited both realms and begun a four-year campaign in the Caucasus. This soon brought him to the borders of the Byzantine Empire. Arslan’s forces established a fort at Chliat. The sultan then occupied the neighboring town of Manzikert, which he hoped to exchange for Manbij, a town in Syria, where he went to campaign in the early months of 1071. The Byzantine army retook Manzikert, causing Arslan to race back from Syria by September and repel a Byzantine attack on Chliat. After defeating and capturing Emperor Romanus IV Diogenes, Arslan released him, perhaps hoping for diplomatic concessions, but the Byzantines deposed the emperor. Arslan turned his attention toward the northeast, asserting Seljuk power in Central Asia, where he died a few years later.
Arslan’s almost purely military orientation and his lack of interest in administration, meant that he made little effort to consolidate Seljuk rule in the areas he had conquered. Although his historical fame rests in his shattering of the Byzantine hold over Asia Minor, most of his military efforts were devoted to the...
(The entire section is 281 words.)